Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Premier League clash with Uefa over fixtures
The Premier League have clashed with UEFA over an agreement by European leagues not to play domestic club matches on the same nights as Champions League games.
The Premier League have refused to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was agreed between the European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) because they say playing domestic matches on European nights is sometimes unavoidable.
UEFA claim the Premier League are still bound by the agreement but that is fiercely disputed - and the league say UEFA have no right to decide when domestic games are played.
There is also a belief at Premier League headquarters that UEFA have created extra fixture clashes by spreading out the games - for example in the Champions League first knockout round this season Arsenal and Chelsea played their games in separate weeks.
Premier League communications director Dan Johnson said: "We have refused to sign the MoU because although we would never seek to go head-to-head with European games, sometimes it's inevitable.
"We don't believe UEFA have the right to say when domestic leagues can and can't schedule their fixtures, especially when UEFA have themselves increased the number of European nights by spreading out their match days and moving the Champions League final to a Saturday.
"The EPFL may have accepted this but although we are a member of the EPFL we are not mandated by them to accept every policy."
The Merseyside derby last month was played on a Tuesday night when there were two Champions League games, having been moved from its original slot because Liverpool were in the Carling Cup final.
UEFA's general secretary Gianni Infantino insisted that the Premier League had to abide by the memorandum.
He said: "The EPFL signed it and the Premier League is a member of the EPFL and all members are bound by it - it is clearly stipulated."
Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards is also chairman of the EPFL but he was noticeably absent when the MoU was signed at UEFA's Congress in Istanbul two weeks ago.
Instead, it was signed by Sergey Pryadkin, the president of the Russian Premier League.